After reviewing the New England Patriots’ betting odds, power rankings & advanced statistics, this NFL handicapper decides on how they will win the Super Bowl 49.
ESPN NFL Power Rankings
By and large the consensus is that the two best teams in the 2014-2015 NFL season have reached the Super Bowl XLIX. Both the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks underscored that label by not only winning their respective Conference titles, but also by securing the top seed ahead of the playoffs. By virtue of being one of the two best teams in the NFL this season, it follows the New England Patriots emerge champions in Super Bowl XLIX.
In Chart 1 (below), we chart their weekly ESPN NFL Power Rankings en route to the top of their respective Conferences, beginning with the rankings ahead of week 1 and ending with the rankings after week 17, right before the wild card round of the playoffs.
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Chart 1: Weekly ESPN NFL Power Rankings
As the table shows, Seattle Seahawks began and ended the season at the top of the rankings, with only a brief drop off midway through the season (a low of 11th spot). New England Patriots, similarly, started in the top five, with only a slight slip down (a dramatic low to 16th spot) in the rankings in the first few weeks before righting the ship down the stretch. Over the course of several weeks, they enjoyed top spot (week 10-13 and 16-17). Largely down to a 17-9 loss to the Buffalo Bills in week 16 NFL betting were the Patriots admonished in the ESPN NFL Power Rankings and dropped down to second place.
How the Patriots Will Win Super Bowl XLIX
The high powered offense of New England has paved the way to the Super Bowl and it's largely expected to be the key factor if the Patriots do pull off the win.
In the Divisional round, the Patriots beat the Ravens 35-31 and in the AFC Championship game they beat the Colts 45-7, both of which were a natural extension of their offensive accounts during the regular season. (See Table 1).
After two postseason accounts, the Patriots emerge with a 40 PPG average, which is decidedly higher than their seasonal average (See Table 1).
Table 1: Regular Season Offensive and Defensive Stats
There's no doubt the Patriots have all those intangibles in abundance. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are the most successful tandem in the history of the NFL playoffs. Tom Brady has the most postseason wins of any quarterback and he's starting a record sixth Super Bowl, which none of his predecessors in the Hall of Fame today can claim. To put it into numbers, Tom Brady has a 71% winning record in the postseason behind a 20-7 league leading record. He's also 3-2 SU in the Super Bowl (60% winning record). Two aspects that make a good case for the Patriots winning Super Bowl XLIX. Aside from the X-factor of the double Bs, there's also Rob Gronkowski, Julius Edelman and Danny Amendola to add as a one-two-knockout punch for the Patriots.
These overarching stats and others however only give a sample of what the Patriots' offense can produce. All data-analysis does is to provide a sense of what systematic production looks like over an extended period of time. There are definite takeaways that bettors can look for when making their NFL picks. More than anything though stepping outside of the box and taking into consideration current form, the X-factor certain players have in Big Game situations, the overall momentum a team hitting its stride and the tactical savvy of the coaching team is also necessary.
When it comes to milking the potential of any player, the double Bs are masters. The Patriots have built a reputation on their ability to elevate an average player into a star, whether it's Belichick doing the moulding or Brady coaxing the best out of said player on the field. The narrative is repeated from season to season. Essentially, they play the positions to the maximum, juggle formations, work at a fast clip down the field and collectively frustrate opponents to no end. They are not averse to throwing in some out-of-this-world plays either. Edelman's touchdown pass against the Ravens, which essentially tied the game, is case-and-point.
It remains to be seen how the Patriots offense will attack the Seahawks defense on Sunday. All and sundry are practically giddy about the prospect, but if there's an offensive unit that can outshoot the Seahawks, it's the Patriots.
Not Just Offense But Defense Too
Naturally, it's not going to be just down to the high-octane offense. Patriots' defense will have to step it up against Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch as well they may need to resort to special teams and trick plays.
Somehow they'll have to contain Wilson in the pocket, limit his mobility and stifle Lynch and the beast mode first and foremost. Patriots aren't slouches when it comes to defending. They might not be atop the rankings in that category, but they compensate for that by stellar strategy and tactical savvy. In a week 13 narrow loss at Lambeau (26-21) to the Packers, the Patriots did several things against Aaron Rodgers that almost saw them clinch the win on the road in one of the most formidable fortresses. Deploying similar such tactics could work against Russell Wilson and the Seahawks' offense in the Super Bowl. To put it simply: the Pats defense might not be the best matchup on paper but they certainly have the wits, know-how and savvy to play up to the Seahawks.
Putting all these aspects together is easier said than done, but if the Patriots offense lives up to its billing and is well supported by enthusiastic defending and opportunistic special team play, they could win this game and handily so. Mark these words.
If you fancy the Patriots, you can back them on your NFL picks as the 1-point faves against the spread and the nominal -115 faves SU.